What I learned as an extern for Ed100

by Jeff Camp | January 18, 2022 | 0 Comments
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Volunteers are crucial to the success of Ed100. For the last several years, we have involved college students as both externs (in the month of December) and interns (during the months of June, July and August). We primarily accept applications for these positions through Handshake. Sophie Boileau, a student at Carleton College, wrote (and coded) the reflection below to describe her experience.

My most interesting discoveries

I got super excited to learn more about the world of education - so much so that I've made up my mind to pursue the educational studies minor at Carleton! One of my favorite parts of my externship experience was getting to code a website in html, and I hand-coded my final reflection piece (this blog post) in Visual Studio. My passion for computer science surprised me, as I was previously on the fence about whether or not I wanted to major in computer science (as well as math). Now, I'm definitely leaning toward declaring that double major. Getting to work with the Ed100 website was thrilling!

Final Reflection Piece

Jeff Camp, my externship host, told us that Ed100 is substantially powered by volunteers. He also said that most of the education policy advocates are volunteers, which is really inspiring as well as surprising. We met with many people for all sorts of reasons, from the best online platform for their events to writing lessons to investigating how to better represent Native students. I learned a lot by getting to listen to these calls.

My support network

I was really lucky because my roommate was also working in the same externship program as me. She and I would text each other nonstop with questions and revelations we'd had, so we got to work together a lot. Jeff Camp was also super helpful, and he connected us with other helpful sources. Through him, I met with Daniel Willis and Dr. Hueling Lee, who were both amazing and had fascinating things to say. He also urged me to find online resources, such as visual studio code, google analytics, search console, and Datawrapper. For example, I made the graphic below through datawrapper.

The connections I made

Jeff Camp was an amazing connection to make, and I'm interested in working with him again. I have the contact information for a lot of people with whom we met, and they specialize in many different things. A lot of people who we met with gave me resources to look further into as well. I plan on reaching out to many people to learn more.

The challenges I had

I think my biggest challenge was not knowing how to code html, then diving straight into it. The first page I worked on was Lesson 4.1: Early Childhood Education. Even though I had technical difficulties, I had fun messing with programming and learning more about how website development worked. Plus, Jeff Camp was easily accessible through Slack, which was wonderful. One of the things that was hardest for me was making blog postage stamps, like this one.

My strengths and weaknesses

I learned that I was really passionate about computer science, which surprised me. I knew I loved education, but having my interest in computer science intersect with that was super exciting. Time flew when I was working on every part of the process, and I enjoyed myself a lot.

There were definitely things that I struggled with that I couldn't control - like food poisoning, power outages, etc. I thing the most difficult part of the externship program was that my experience was all online with a time difference. It was hard to get motivated and to coordinate work with my roommate, who is living across the country.

How my externship experience will help me in the future

I learned a lot about education in revising and coding lessons. However, since Ed100 is an organization that's specific to California education, it won't all be applicable to my future. I think the skills that I learned during the externship program will be most helpful, especially learning html.

Sophie Boileau, Ed100 extern, December 2021.

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